Its barely 37 days to the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly polls in Nigeria from the day this piece was written which will usher in a new government charged with leading Africa’s largest economy and the most populous black country in the world. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been in the eye of the storm lately by rival political parties, presidential candidates, civil society groups and the general public with the appointment of Hajiya Amina Zakari as the Chairperson, National Collation Centre for the Presidential Election results.
The constant assurances by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakub that he was committed to conducting a credible, free, fair, neutral, and transparent elections has not been reassuring to stakeholders, often met with mixed reactions by the general public due to the commission’s appointment of Hajiya Zakari. The integrity of the electoral processes and outcomes of the election becomes questionable. On this basis, am of the perspective that Hajiya Amina Zakari should be reassigned to another nonsensitive position till the elections has been concluded.
As a Nigerian, Hajiya Amina Zakari is 100% qualified to chair any committee in INEC because she has all it takes. Though, there has not been any established fact that Amina Zakari is related to the incumbent President and Presidential Candidate of the APC for the 2019 Presidential election by blood ties but through Inter-marriage. As Africans that cherish the extended family ties alot, the truth might not be far fletched that She is related to the Presidential candidate of the APC somehow.
The Public perception is that her appointment as the Chairperson of such committee might influence the processes and outcomes of the presidential election. As Thucydides once posited, “in a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it”. Therefore, INEC must not paint the picture of an election result that has been declared even before the elections are conducted.
Finally, INEC must present itself as an unbiased umpire, incorruptible, transparent, fair and independent electoral body committed to conducting a free, fair and credible elections for sustainable democracy in Nigeria. The failure and refusal of the President to sign the amended Electoral Act which would have given more credibility to the electoral process is still an ongoing issue in the public believing that the current administration might not be truthful to its words of conducting a free, fair, credible and transparent election. Amina Zakari’s appointment by INEC at this point in time might be suspiciously misinterpreted as a ploy to manipulate the outcomes of the election results and undermine the credibility of the February elections.